See the signs of Human trafficking, urges Western Cape Ministers
In support of the A21 “Can You See Me” campaign, the Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz and the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez calls upon residents to familiarise themselves with the signs of human trafficking and how to help victims.
The campaign, launched today, will unpack the different types of trafficking being experienced in South Africa, making it possible for a potential victim to identify risky scenarios, and for onlookers to identify victims.
The A21 Campaign is a global 501 non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to fight human trafficking, including sexual exploitation & trafficking, forced slave labour, bonded labour, involuntary domestic servitude, and child soldiery.
The call to action asks the viewer to be aware and to report their suspicions. In general, members of a community are the best placed to spot the unusual in everyday life.
Minister Fritz said, “Human trafficking refers to the buying and selling of people for the purposes of exploitation which includes sex work, forced or bonded labour, involuntary domestic servitude, child soldiers or organ trafficking. South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, is a source, transit, and destination for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Of those who are taken, it is estimated that less than 2% are ever found.”
Minister Fernandez added that, “targets of human trafficking are typically people who are the most vulnerable in our society. Children (both girls and boys) and women in particular may be lured in through false job advertisements, sold by family members, seduction, abducted, trafficked by a ‘friend’ or through false immigration.”
Furthermore, “we need to stand steady and act as invisible pillars or rather unsung guardians in order to keep our, brothers, sisters and children safe, says Minister Fernandez”.
Victims of human trafficking can be identified as they:
- Are controlled by another person and are not free to come and go as they wish;
- Are unpaid, paid very little or only paid through tips;
- Exhibit poor mental and physical health including substance abuse, signs of physical abuse or malnourishment;
- Avoid eye contact;
- Have few or no personal possessions;
- Are not permitted to speak for themselves (a third party may insist on being present and/or translating); and
Have a limited ability to speak the local language and have little knowledge of their whereabouts.
Human trafficking is not solely limited to the Western Cape and South Africa but it is rather a global issue. For perpetrators, human trafficking is probably the most profitable violation of human rights; according to estimates, they make a profit of 150 billion dollars a year (ILO, 2014). Every day, traffickers trade thousands of people like goods and sell them for exploitation purposes such as prostitution and forced labour or slavery. Almost every third victim is a child.
According to estimates by the Alliance 8.7, which was founded by the ILO and the Walk Free Foundation in 2016, about 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery. Of these, 24.9 million people were forced to work and 4.8 million sexually exploited.
Minister Fritz added, “If you’ve received a work offer that seems ‘too good to be true’, particularly if it is in a city or country that you are unfamiliar with, it may be in your interest to validate this job offer. This can be done by contacting the Department of Labour.”
“Moreover, the protection of our residents is something that must be driven all year round and requires action from the whole of society. All of us need to be doing far more to prevent cases of human trafficking, child abuse, neglect and murders,” says Minister Fernandez.
To report any suspected cases of human trafficking, community members can call the National Human Trafficking Resource Line on 0800 222 777. The Resource Line acts a tool for community members to use at various times.
· Western Cape Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250
· Email: SD.CustomerCare@westerncape.gov.za
· Police: 10111
· Childline: 0861 322 322
· Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453